Paris’ first nudist restaurant is to shut down next month, owners have announced.
O’naturel in the city’s 12th arrondissement opened to much fanfare in November 2017, but just over a year later a lack of customers is forcing the pioneering restaurant to close its doors.
Mike and Stephane Saada, 43-year-old twins, launched the concept – despite not being nudists themselves.
Unlike nudist beaches, which only attract naturists during the summer, O’naturel was designed to offer “the pleasure of dining naked all year in the capital in the respect of naturist values” according to the website, which is still live.
The owners said of the closure: “’We will only remember the good times, meeting beautiful people and customers who were delighted to share exceptional moments.”
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Diners were shown into changing rooms on arrival, where they could store clothes and mobile phones and cameras – strictly banned in the restaurant – in lockers. Guests were also given a pair of slippers, though women could leave heels on if they wished.
The experience was open to everyone, whether “initiates” or those “who want to try”.
President of the French Naturist Federation, Yves Leclerc, said when O’naturel first opened: “It’s like when we’re on holiday, but it’s even better.”
However, some complained that the presence of clothed waiters was not in the spirit of a nudist restaurant.
The menu was made up of classic French cuisine, with dishes such as foie gras, rack of lamb and crème brûlée.
There was a strict code of conduct dictating that nudity was wholly platonic. Stephane said: “We might reject someone or explain to him that if he is looking to hook up, he should go somewhere else.”
But despite France’s reported 2.7 million practising naturists, the restaurant has not turned out to be been sustainable in the long run.
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It had a better run than London’s only nude restaurant, The Bunyadi, which was admittedly only a pop-up venture.
The one-of-a-kind dining experience opened for three months from June 2016, offering the chance to “experience true liberation” in a restaurant free from phones, electric lights and clothing (optional).